What is Mindfulness

What is Mindfulness?  Mindfulness can be a confusing concept and is widely associated with meditation.  Although meditations can be used  to support the mindfulness practice the actual art of mindfulness is in the idea of intentionally paying attention in the present moment.  The pioneer of mindfulness Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness as “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience  moment by moment.”

Consider sensations in the body, those associated with touch, sound, taste, sights, smell and also thoughts and emotional experiences.  Now consider purposefully bringing awareness to those sensations, this is mindfulness.

Try a short exercise, close your eyes for 30 seconds and listen very carefully to the sounds around you, if your mind wanders to your to-do list, gently acknowledge your thought and return to listening to the sounds around you.  Congratulations, you have just experienced mindfulness in practice.

Through the practice of mindfulness we learn that by intentionally being attentive to experiences in an open and honest manner without any measure of controlling the outcome we begin to understand a way of living that can bring greater joy and happiness.

Mindfulness, as with anything you want to become proficient at, takes practice.  So for today, find a place in your home and sit quietly for several minutes.  Now listen for sounds, pay close attention to sounds you don’t normally notice and those that are familiar.  Once finished make a list of the sounds you heard while mindfully listening.


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